Standards, satisfaction, or success

There’s an interesting piece by an anonymous lecturer in today’s Times Higher, about the standards applied to university lecturing.  I was particularly struck by the anecdote (near the end) contrasting an entertaining lecturer, who had dodgy subject knowledge, with a dull but meticulous and academically sound lecturer.  This is an example of something that interests me, that in many fields, and particularly in education, satisfaction isn’t the same thing as a successful outcome.  The lectures and seminars from which students emerge happy aren’t necessarily the same as those where students learn something that’s useful in the long term.  Ideally, of course, lecturers should be able to provide both, but maybe in course design we need to be quite explicit that certain elements are there to hold students’ attention and interest, and some are there to provide useful long-term learning outcomes.

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